What is an automotive driveline universal joint? All vehicles use a universal joint in the drive line of some kind to connect the engine and drivetrain to the drive wheels. On front wheel drive or independent rear suspension applications a CV joint (constant velocity) is used whereas straight axle rear wheel drive vehicles utilize a driveshaft with universal or U joints.
An universal joint contains a series of needle bearings housed inside four bearing caps which rotate on the main body of the joint. These bearings require lubrication which is held in place using a grease seal which also rides on the main body and allows the joint to operate under extreme load. Many manufacturer's provide grease already installed which is meant for the life of the U joint, while others provide a zerk fitting on the joint to add grease at regular service intervals. When a U joint fails it can cause rhythmic squeaking or ticking that is usually more audible at slower vehicle speeds and if left unattended the universal joint can break causing a mechanical breakdown.
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